Conductor Valery Gergiev. Photo by Sergei Fadeichev/TASS

In Friday’s (12/1) Guardian (U.K.), Pjotr Sauer writes, “Valery Gergiev, the star Russian conductor and prominent supporter of Vladimir Putin, has been installed as general director of Moscow’s Bolshoi theatre, in the latest appointment of a Kremlin loyalist to a leading cultural institution.” An announcement concerning Gergiev’s appointment at the Bolshoi was expected and then rescinded in recent weeks; see previous coverage here . “The appointment means that Gergiev, who also heads the rival Mariinsky theatre in St Petersburg, will have artistic control over the two crown jewels of the Russian ballet and opera. In a statement at the Bolshoi theatre on Friday, the Russian deputy prime minister Tatyana Golikova said Gergiev would lead the institution for five years. Gergiev, 67, has been close to Putin since the early 1990s and publicly supported the president many times … He was once one of the world’s busiest international conductors but has emerged as a persona non grata in the west for his refusal to distance himself from Putin since the start of the war in Ukraine…. Russian authorities have cracked down on cultural figures who have criticized the war, with many purged from their jobs,” among them Vladimir Urin, the Bolshoi’s well-regarded director, who had criticized the invasion of Ukraine.